Banks student shares dog safety rules

Published 7:47 pm Friday, June 3, 2022

Every year, 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States. Nearly one out of five bites becomes infected.

Those numbers are disturbing because interaction with dogs is rather commonplace.

Pike Countian Hope Majors and her service dog, Chloe, a lab, are US Kennel service, emotional, therapy certified. Additionally, she is dog bite prevention certified.

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Majors’ major reason for the certification is rather simple– to help others learn how not to get bitten by a dog. But there are other reasons as well.

“Pet therapy can reduce stress, promote healing and lower blood pressure,” Majors said. “It can also lift spirits, especially for those who live alone or are residents of long-term care facilities and for children who are hospitalized.”

With all of the good pets can do, there is also reason to be cautious. The dog numbers are especially concerning.

Each day, nearly 1,000 persons are treated in hospital emergency departments for nonfatal dog bite-related injuries.

Many of those bites could have been prevented by knowing how to approach and handle dogs.

Majors’ interest in dog-bite prevention is shared by her grandson, Cooper Westley, a student at Banks Primary School.

“Cooper is very interested in how dog bites can be prevented,” Majors said. “I talk to school groups about how dogs should be approached and treated. Cooper is now interested in sharing what he has learned about the treatment of dogs and how dog bites and attacks can be prevented.”

Cooper shared what he has learned with his classmates and other third graders at Banks Primary School last week.

He presented 13 rules for the prevention of dog bites.

“A dog that you are not familiar with might be hurt or scared so don’t run if you come in contact with a dog. Stay still and don’t make eye contact and don’t let the dog get close to your face.”

And, Cooper said, never get too close to a dog’s face and don’t put your hand in its face.”

“Never tease a dog and don’t ever take away its toy. That causes it to be aggressive,” he said. “Don’t pull a dog’s ears or tail. Stay calm around a dog. Don’t yell or startle it in any way.

“If a dog has been left alone in a hot car, leave it alone. Go tell an adult or a security guard.”

Cooper said it is important to learn how to treat dogs because knowing how could prevent a dog bite or attack.

“If you are attacked by a dog, cover your face and ball up,” he said. “The dog won’t feel threatened and, hopefully, it will go away or help will come.”

Majors said dogs are good and trusting pets but if they are treated aggressively or they are startled or frightened, there is the possibility they could become aggressive.

“Knowing how to treat a dog is the best protection against a dog bite,” she said.